Fear Makes Us Fat?
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
"Fear Makes Us Fat" by Dr. Richard Gould
"Food craving is a mental phenomena that is really a desire for something else that's buried deep (but safely) in the back of your mind. If you accept this premise (which I believe is fact) then you'll begin to understand what I mean when I say fear makes you fat.
It is the fear of your own "hidden truth" that is the origin of the mental phenomena that creates the cravings.
You are literally too afraid to engage your feelings for fear that they will lead you to a deeper feeling of powerlessness. At that moment in time your mind plays a trick on you. It says, "Go get something to eat, and then you won't have to deal with this unknown fear."
I have been successful with dieting.... FINALLY! Thanks to this website and some really awesome Teams and Spark friends who taught me and motivated me to eat right. I get the scientific side of food. Carbs, Protein, Fat, Exercise. But I was still missing the emotional connection. Dr. Gould's message made me dig deep.
So the question I asked myself is "Did Fear Make Me Fat?"
No doubt, fear is at the root of all things negative in our lives. But as Dr. Gould says, it is so deeply embedded that we don't really know what is behind it. I have tried to link fear and food together and I always come back to fear of not being in control. And why is control so important to me? When I think about the negatives in my childhood it is always of a father who was in complete control of our lives. There was no thinking for yourself, free will to do what we wanted, when we wanted. The farm work always came first. We all had chores. None of my siblings were exempt. We started at a very young age. I remember doing dishes every night on a chair pulled up to the sink because I was too small to reach the sink. It wasn't hard work. Just constant. The constant putting aside what I wanted is what I think of always being there as a child growing up. When we did get some freedom to play, it was such a joy and privilege.
Then there were Thursdays. Mom would go grocery shopping on Thursday and we would get off the bus and race down the lane to get to the candy drawer filled with bags of candy and goodies. Oh what excitement! With five of us kids, it was gone the same day. So somehow as an adult, I associated that with food as a treat and something that will be gone if I don't eat it now. I remember when I left home I was ecstatic because I could eat whatever I wanted! And I did. Gained 20 lbs in no time flat. Was 180lbs at the age of 20. Then I spent the next 35 years depriving myself of eating what I really wanted and used those foods as "treats" and "rewards". Food was now controlling my life. The cycle was embedded in my brain. If I went out with friends to a restaurant, I sooo wanted desert. Not because I was hungry, but because it was there! Just like the candy drawer. And somewhere in the back of my head I was thinking, it will be gone if I don't get it now!
So I think between the two childhood experiences, food has controlled my life, been my joy and my fear. Love to eat. Afraid to eat. Pay the price.
Now that I understand the chemical reactions in the brain from carbs and sugar, I can control my cravings. I have found substitutions for those comfort foods that are just as satisfying and I am content. And if I do eat them, a little bit is satisfying. I have learned moderation. And I am in CONTROL! Do I still fear being controlled..... yes. But it isn't manifested by food. I am free.
I share this with you my Spark friends, because it is so important to figure out our food addiction and what is at the root of it. I don't think the question is "How" did we get fat? but "Why" did we get fat? It certainly isn't because we wanted to! There is an underlying cause. Being over weight isn't just about food. It's about emotions, life experiences, conditioning and habits. So how about you? Is Fear making you Fat?
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I see this is an old post, but so interesting. I came to it today because after a 40 pound weight loss, I'm starting to gain again. I've been trying to figure out why. Lately I feel like I am in a constant state of fear. (Just look at our world) I google "is fear making me fat?" and came upon this article. I definitely think we've hit upon something.
225 days ago
I'm in the midst of a divorce from an emotionally abusive man, and I was amazed at how quickly I started to lose weight, especially around my belly, once I started SP (about three months after separating from him). I had attributed at least some of that to decreased cortisol, which does tend to contribute to weight gain and which is caused by stress (which certainly includes fear!). I hadn't made the connection between my eating habits and my fear of my ex, though; thanks for that link!
1561 days ago
Gould helped me, too, but in the end, I did have to (and still sometimes) go through saying no to food that I "want."
It's interesting the we in the States feel so deprived and restricted by rules that whole cultures adhere to with little rebellion. Up to the last the years, the French and Italians followed meal rules, in that they rarely ate snacks, but children didn't grow up and start bingeing on snack food in defiance. I think we have a general culture of impulsiveness around food and any attempt to control it can end up feeling like unfairness. But it's not. Humans evolved without easy access to food all the time. It's natural to have to institute some guidelines to be sane in our choices.
1562 days ago
Comment edited on: 12/16/2012 1:02:43 AM
Wonderful blog, Marg!
1570 days ago
We need to face our fears, and for me fear does make me fat. I am trying to fight it and somedays I win, others I don't. It is a battle I will never give up.
1573 days ago
What a great share! A lot of what you said really resonates. I, too, was raised that way - we always had to be doing something when my dad was around (also a good way to avoid getting spanked). I was always chubby (but funny enough, in pictures that I look at, not really THAT chubby...just not SKINNY) and was never made to feel comfortable in my body. I could never ask for seconds or have a snack without being chided. So yeah, now that I'm grown up, I eat seconds and snack whenever I want because for 18 years I was afraid! Now I eat because I can, not because I want. Thanks for posting...this has been very enlightening!
1573 days ago
Very wise words Marg! Thanks for sharing.
We both have come so far in our journeys--learned so much together. We have put all the pieces together and have Victory in knowledge of our emotional and physical body and it's relationship with food.
We both have control over our food now and we will forever be liberated from the power it once had over us.
We are FREE!! FREE!! FREE!! Oh Joyous day!!
Love you my special sister!!
1573 days ago
THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!!
I'll speak for myself and say I am addicted to food. I use food as a way to feel good and/or soothe myself. Working on dealing with feelings rather than hiding from them. Hard though!
1573 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.
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